Why You Need to Ask About Advancement Opportunities During an Interview


In a professional interview, it is important to ask questions about your possible future position. In order to gain a more complete understanding of a job, consider gathering more information about development paths that will be available to you as an employee, including higher-ranking jobs or professional training. In this article, we explain why and how you should ask about advancement opportunities and give you tips for advancement in a job.

What are advancement opportunities?

An advancement opportunity is a chance to move forward into a new role in a company. Other definitions include the potential for professional development, like employer-funded certifications or continuing education classes. You might also consider the ability to work within multiple roles in order to create an advancement opportunity. Whichever way you define it, an advancement opportunity offers the potential for increased responsibility and pay beyond the position the company hired you for.

Why should I ask about advancement opportunities?

Whether you are new to the job market or an established professional seeking a different career, you will want to know your chances to move forward in a company. If you know that a company offers advancement opportunities, you might be more likely to think of that position as a long-term prospect. You might also consider opportunities for advancement as part of your overall compensation. Having opportunities to advance in a company could be more important to you than a higher initial salary or other perks.

Additionally, asking this question shows your interviewer that you want to exceed expectations. It exhibits your drive to succeed in your initial role and that you have the ambition to succeed in others. Your interviewer will likely appreciate that you think toward the future, and it might make you a more desirable candidate for the job.

Finally, displays of curiosity let your interviewer know that you care about the specific position and workplace that you are interviewing for. When your interviewer knows you recognize the company’s uniqueness, they might be more likely to consider you as a potential employee.

Tips for asking about advancement opportunities

While it is advisable to wait to ask about pay and other compensation until an employer makes a job offer, you can choose tactfully inquire about advancement opportunities in a first interview. However, regardless of when you ask, there are some things to consider when discussing advancement opportunities:

Be confident. Show your interviewer that you believe in yourself and your potential to succeed. Example: “I am certain that I have the qualities to succeed in this role and would like to bring my commitment and creativity to future positions in the company. Can you tell me if this job offers opportunities for advancement?”

Be polite. As with asking any other question in an interview, be polite. Phrasing your question in a direct but non-demanding manner will help your interviewer be more open to your request. Example: “I am excited to be considered for this position and can see myself staying in this job long-term. Given my commitment, I hope to move forward into other positions in your company. Can you tell me if there will be opportunities available for advancement?”

Be understanding. It is possible that your interviewer might not have a definite answer to your question, but they might still see your potential to advance in the company. If your interviewer cannot tell you for sure if you will have this kind of opportunity, you can still state your desire to advance. Example:“Thank you. I realize that you might not be able to promise chances to advance, but I believe my strengths as an employee will help you consider me if opportunities become available.”

How to advance in a career

Here are some actions you can take to prepare for advancement:

Be curious. Asking questions not only helps you learn but also lets your employer know that you care about self-improvement. You can display curiosity by asking your employers if you are meeting their expectations for your role. Another way of showing curiosity is to ask other people in your organization about their jobs and responsibilities and express your desire to learn more about how the company functions as a whole. This kind of commitment shows employers that you might be suited for a more advanced role.

Get to know people. Working in a company of any size offers opportunities to build relationships. By networking within a company, you are more likely to stand out when your organization is considering employees for an open position. It will be beneficial to introduce yourself to people in the company you do not work with directly in case a position opens in their department.

Know what you want. Having a clear idea of what you want in an advanced position will help you seek out a new role that’s right for you. For example, if you want to have more face-to-face time with clients, you would probably be more content in a customer management role instead of a warehouse leader position.

Ask for more responsibilities. Even in an entry-level position, you will likely have chances to do work that goes beyond your job description. For instance, if a company hires you as a front desk clerk, you could also ask to help out in the mailroom or take notes during meetings.

Be dependable. When your company seeks to promote an employee, they will want to hire the most reliable candidate. Arriving to work on time, finishing your work before deadlines and being available when your company needs you will show them that they can trust you in a more advanced role.

Know what’s available. Some companies only hire internally without announcing open positions, while others advertise on job boards. If your company does the latter, you can browse their postings and speak with the hiring manager directly about a position you want.

Article originally appeared on Indeed.

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